Review: The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis

The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis—a gripping traditional murder mystery set in 1970s England.

The Sedleigh Hall Murder

by Roy Lewis

Published by Joffe Books

on May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-789-31126-6

Genre(s): Mystery & Detective

170 pages

Available in paperback and electronic editions.

A SUSPICIOUS DEATH AND A LARGE INHERITANCE WITHOUT ANYONE TO RECEIVE IT.

Eric Ward thinks there is something odd about Arthur Egan’s life and death. But Ward is a former police inspector, and trained to be suspicious. 

Egan left a large sum. But Ward makes no progress tracing the dead man’s offspring. A photograph of an unknown tombstone is his only clue.

He discovers Egan served a term for manslaughter, and that the evidence against him may have been planted. Why had he accepted his fate so meekly?

Despite warnings that he is wasting the firm’s time, Ward persists in his investigations.

AND HIS PERSISTENCE LEADS TO MURDER. 

And by the time he realizes why, he finds his life and career are both at risk.

AND WHAT IS THE CONNECTION TO LORD MORCOMB AT SEDLEIGH HALL? 

This fast-paced mystery will have you enthralled from the start. Set in England in the late 1970s, this is the first book to feature Eric Ward. More coming soon.

Review

I really like Eric Ward, the main character in The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis. He is a former police detective working to become a lawyer when the story unfolds. Yet what makes Ward so unique as a character is the reason he left the police. It’s his flaw as a character that all good authors use to make a character seem less than perfect. Through imperfections, authors breathe life into fictional characters, making them seem real since as we all know, perfect characters are boring characters. Eric was forced out of police work because he suffers from angle-closure glaucoma, a rare and debilitating form of the disease with symptoms that include extreme eye pain with nausea and sudden visual disturbance. I found this fascinating having previously never heard of this form of glaucoma. And it’s also a very rare and impactful character flaw or trait that quickly draws the reader’s sympathy for the character and serves to make Eric Ward seem like a real person.

At the heart of the story is Ward’s work on a simple small estate administration matter for a deceased man named Arthur Egan. Yet once Eric starts to work on it, trying to trace the dead man’s heirs, his instincts as a former policeman convince him that there is something odd about Egan’s life and the case in general. He discovers Egan had served a prison term for manslaughter, but the deeper he delves into that aspect the more convinced Ward becomes that Egan had been framed. Adding to the suspense is the fact that Eric Ward soon discovers that another more important case his firm is handling for a wealthy and important client named Lord Morcomb seems somehow related to the Egan matter. Soon murder comes into play.

Roy Lewis’ novel is cleverly plotted, featuring droll dialogue and intelligent prose. I found the writing quite addictive and sailed through the book in one sitting.

The Sedleigh Hall Murder isn’t a lengthy novel coming in at only 170 pages in print. So, it’s a quick read and a very enjoyable one. My only complaint about the book is it is comprised of only six chapters which means they are all rather lengthy. For readers like me who prefer to take reading breaks at the end of a chapter before beginning the next, I must admit it sometimes felt like a bit of a slog getting to the end of some of the longer chapters. That is no reflection on the quality of the writing which I very much enjoyed, only that very lengthy chapters are something I often find tedious.

I didn’t manage to guess the whodunit before the reveal, though in hindsight, I believe Lewis fairly presented all the important clues. The mystery is intriguing but in some ways I felt more drawn to the characters, the clever writing and dialogue as well as Lewis’ attention to historical detail – in everything from the character’s clothes to the settings in 1970s rural England.

The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first novel in the Eric Ward Mystery series. I’ll definitely be adding the other two books in the series to my to be read list.

I heartily recommend this book to all detective and mystery fans who enjoy traditional mysteries set in a time before mobile phones and DNA testing.

I purchased the copy of the book used for this review.

All Books in the Eric Ward Mystery Series:

  1. The Sedleigh Hall Murder
  2. The Farming Murder
  3. The Quayside Murder

Buy Links

The Sedleigh Hall Murder (as well as the other books in the series) is available exclusively on Amazon, both print and Kindle editions.

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